Reports say that the latest X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, will lose at least $100 million, which could be a drop in the bucket compared to the upcoming New Mutants.
A lot of think-pieces are being written about the box office catastrophe that is Dark Phoenix, which opened this weekend to a devastating $33 million. But the simple answer is that it sucked. It is a terrible movie and no amount of hand-wringing over the marketing or the reshoots or the “bad buzz” will change that simple truth.
After the disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse, which still managed a $543 million worldwide gross, Dark Phoenix had to deliver and it doesn’t — not even close.
As I wrote in my review, the debate over which X-Men movie is the worst is now over. Dark Phoenix is by far the worst. There is not even a close second place.
Sure, an awful lot of bad movies have managed to overcome their badness and terrible reviews to still score at the box office. Sometimes the spectacle is enough. But there was no goodwill for Dark Phoenix. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, and someone named Sophie Turner, have gone out of their way to alienate audiences with mean-spirited and divisive political posturing.
Speaking of this someone named Sophie Turner, who thought it was a good idea to build an entire summer movie around a charisma-free TV actor with zero sex appeal?
The marketing also focused on Turner, and did so at the expense of informing the public this is an actual X-Men movie, part of the First Class franchise.
Turners was the bland face dominating the poster, so instead of looking like an A-level X-Men sequel it looked more like one of those direct-to-DVD cheapie knocks offs you see at the Redbox: Jurassic Planet or Guardians of the Universe or Captain USA.
What I sense behind all of these mishaps is a social justice warrior-inspired meltdown, a misguided push to catch a Grrrl Power Wave that audiences mostly resent. The female-driven action franchises that actually do succeed do so because a woman is presented as the hero without any political baggage. The movie is made to entertain, not to send a stupid message.
Going back decades, the Alien, Underworld, Terminator, Kill Bill, Scream, Hunger Games, and Resident Evil franchises did just fine with a woman at the center because no one told us we were supposed to notice or care; no one pretended to make an Important Social Statement.
Nowadays, whenever a woman stars in something we’re lied to about it being a historic first and then emotionally blackmailed into supporting it.
Who wants to see a movie that feels like homework?
Anyway, the failure of Dark Phoenix appears to be the good news for Disney…
Now that Disney has swallowed 20th Century-Fox whole, everyone claims Dark Phoenix is the end of the X-Men franchise as we know it, the last chapter… But that’s not true. The New Mutants arrives next year, or at least it is supposed to.
Filming wrapped on New Mutants all the way back in September of 2017, but the release date has already been pushed more than once — from April 2018 to February 2019 to August 2019 to April 2020.
Due to all the bad buzz, the Hollywood Reporter now says its release might be canceled entirely and drop on a streaming platform. In fact, this big X-Men movie might be perfect to help launch Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+.
The original idea, though, was much more ambitious. New Mutants was meant to launch a whole new franchise within the X-Men universe, to expand that universe. This one, apparently, was originally pitched as a trilogy and more horror oriented. Already, though, the sequels have been canceled.
Sight unseen it’s unfair to dump all over New Mutants. Plenty of movies have come out of troubled productions a winner, including X-Men: Days of Future Past, which needed a ton of reshoots and a director to step in when the original director, Bryan Singer, disappeared for days.
Unfortunately, for those who worked so hard on New Mutants, there is now a stench of failure all over what was once one of the most popular and beloved franchises in Moviedom. What’s more, releasing a movie theatrically is a massive investment that requires gambling tens of millions of additional dollars above production costs. Disney might decide it’s safer to cut their losses and use New Mutants as a lure to its fledgling streaming service — which could be some kind of win, especially if the movie ends up being good.
Regardless, the era of X-Men is over and after 19 years and a lot of great movies (X-Men, X-Men 2, Logan, Days of Future Past) it is a real shame the whole thing had to implode in a toxic, SJW-influenced mess.